Archive: Blogging

I have moved my blog over to DuncanStephen.co.uk.

Apologies for the confusion, and for moving my blog just a year after the last time I moved it. I promise this will be the last time I move.

Find out why I have decided to make the change.

I hope to see you there.

Visit Duncan Stephen.

Silverstone’s new ‘Wing’ pit complex has been getting a bit of press recently as the circuit has been showing off the progress so far to journalists.

Whenever I have seen designs of it, I have felt like it reminded me of something, but I could never quite put my finger on what.

Then I logged into the stats for my blog and found the answer.

Blog stats

Silverstone Wing complex

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my blog! This is it — it’s official. This is a proper relaunch. And to prove it I have about a dozen posts already prepared, ready to be whipped out whenever I hit a dry patch.

I was actually hoping to launch it a few weeks earlier. But the process of redesigning the blog took much longer than I had anticipated. I must have had the original ideas for this design way back in September, and I have been working on it on and off ever since. Obviously it went on the back burner when I moved into my new flat, which took up a huge amount of my time between December and February.

Nonetheless, I expected that I would be able to put together the design quite quickly. One of my original intentions was to do it properly, with good accessibility, a mobile stylesheet, and some HTML5 and CSS3. I saw it as a good learning experience, and an opportunity to learn about the sort of code I will have to start using at work.

In the end, I have ended up having to basically re-learn how to develop a WordPress theme, due to major changes in versions 2.7 and 3.0. That was much harder than I anticipated, and it was only after borrowing a book from my colleague Gareth Saunders that I finally cracked it (sort of)!

It got to the stage where I have just had to work as quickly as possible to get the theme finished and ready for public display. As such, most of the fancy stuff I wanted to implement has not been started on, never mind finished. And the theme lacks the final polish. You will probably notice a few inconsistencies in the way some elements of the design work. I will be hoping to iron this all out in the coming weeks.

Content-wise, I anticipate that the blog will be quite different to what has been here before. But I knew that all along. That was part of the reason for my hiatus over the winter. But you will see what’s in store later on.

In the next few weeks there will be a few posts that would normally have appeared in either November or December. The normal sort of end-of-year stuff. For instance, I never got round to writing about the end of last year’s Formula 1 season (!), nor did I write a music roundup, which I have done every year since I started blogging way back in 2002.

Please let me know what you think of the design. As I say, I’m still working on it and am open to any suggestions.

Back already? Yes I am — sort of. It is typical of a “hiatus”. The actual hiatus (which officially began ten days ago) has been much shorted than the month-long awkward silence that preceded it.

But I came to the conclusion quite quickly that I do want to continue blogging. I just don’t know how, or what format it should take. I am still not sure what I want to achieve with it, and what sort of things I want to publish here.

So I have decided to use the month of December as an experiment. I am aiming for the lofty goal of one post a day. Just like an advent calendar! Or something.

Some of these posts will be ones that I meant to write before beginning the hiatus, but didn’t get round to. I will also piece together some unfinished posts to get them out there too. Then there are the traditional end-of-year posts (about music and Formula 1) that I can’t leave out.

I have also come up with a nice idea for a little series of posts, which I feel like I have the energy to write. This is quite an interesting period of my life, and it feels silly not to document it in some way when I have the perfect tool to do so!

Over the course of the month I will be experimenting with styles and subject matters. I want to try and work out what I feel comfortable with, and also what interests the readers.

I am conscious that part of this is down to the fact that I have found myself with a bit more time on my hands this week than I was expecting (I had booked the week off work to move into my new flat, but Snow Week has made progress on this very difficult!). So I may well abruptly disappear again. But for the time being I am in the mood to create and experiment. Feel free to join me.

Political Innovation - Innovative Conversational Politics

There is an event coming up that will interest a lot of Scottish political bloggers. Political Innovation is taking place on 13 November at the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Forum.

The Political Innovation project is a series of free-to-attend practical events at which people with ideas on political innovations can meet up with technical experts, journalists, bloggers, politicos and others with an interest in politics and public affairs. The event will allow to find about about innovative projects like these ones. You may even want to get involved in one of them.

It sounds pretty good to me and I plan on attending. It will be a good opportunity for bloggers to meet up and chat with others that are interested in this sort of thing.

As far as I know, it has been a while since there was a bit meetup of Scottish bloggers, and from time to time people ask me when there is going to be another meetup. The political focus of this event might not appeal to everyone, but it sounds like the ideal place for some of us to catch up, as well as meet other interesting people and discuss innovative ideas. Best of all, they will be supplying lunch. :-)

A couple of weeks ago I allowed my membership of the Liberal Democrats to lapse. It is not that I have ripped up my membership card in disgust. Quite the opposite — I have found surprisingly little to be upset with the coalition government about.

Nonetheless, I think governments are for opposing, not supporting. So I don’t think it is appropriate to continue being a member. I see little point.

Besides, I find it quite difficult to get very wound up about politics these days. I maintain a vague interest if I happen to hear something on the news, but I can no longer call myself an active follower of politics.

No doubt this is a disappointment to those people that started reading this blog for the politics articles. I no longer consider this to be a political blog and am currently in the process of working out what I should do with it in the future.

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I have been mad busy.

To compound matters, when I had a spare bit of time I decided to upgrade to WordPress 3.0. This broke comments on the blog. (My fault I guess — I have been meaning to update the code for comments for at least a year, but never got round to doing it.)

So for the time being I have put up a quick fix so that comments just about work. It just doesn’t work quite as nicely as I’d like.

On the plus side, this is forcing me to have a look at recoding / redesigning the blog, which I have been thinking of doing for a while now. I have a bit of extra spare time next week, so I may get it done then.

In the meantime, please excuse the slight flakiness. I will try to continue posting so keep your eyes peeled.

I have a guest post up at F1 Fanatic today: Why F1 needs a feeder series for teams. With the recent drive towards attracting new teams to F1, where are the real opportunities for potential constructors to hone their skills in lower formulae, where spec series increasingly dominate?

I might have a couple of other posts up on F1 Fanatic in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

University of St Andrews web team logoI have now begun writing for yet another blog. The University of St Andrews web team blog is being relaunched after an almost two year long hiatus. So if you’ve ever wanted to learn about what I do at work (!) then you are in luck!

My first post is about the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2010, which I attended along with my colleague a couple of weeks ago.

We are planning on blogging more in the near future. Certainly, it won’t be almost two years until the next post.

Incidentally, if you are interested, you can also follow the University of St Andrews web team on Twitter @stawebteam. My tweets are marked ‘^dbss’ (my University username).

I have decided to take a sabbatical from Scottish Roundup. Since setting it up almost four years ago, I don’t think there has been a week where I haven’t been trying to gather nominations, arrange the rota of guest editors or actually produce the roundup itself.

But I have much less spare time on my hands than I used to, and I find it increasingly difficult to find time to do it. Also, I have realised that I don’t love blogs as much as I used to, and can’t cheerlead in the way I was able to in the early days.

However, I don’t think it would be right to just pull the plug on Scottish Roundup. So if anyone is interested in taking over the running of Scottish Roundup, please get in contact with me! Alternatively, if anyone could work out a good way of spreading the workload among a group of people, that could be a workable solution too.

If I think someone can continue to push Scottish Roundup forward in the right direction, we can make it happen. Just now I think that it is stagnating and I can’t do the Scottish blogosphere justice anymore.

Email me: duncan@doctorvee.co.uk.